SPECIAL SECTION


The ambitious books in this group call for a special section because they

seem to—or try—to leap across the vast and breath-taking universe of color.


  1. 498. Benz, Portmann, Izutsu et al. Color Symbolism - Six Excerpts from the

Eranos Yearbook 1972. Dallas, Texas, Spring Publications, 1977.  202 pp. ISBN

0-88214-400-6.

   The six papers in this book, presented at the annual Eranos Conference, Ascona,

Switzerland, in 1972, were translated into English for this publication.

    “Colour Sense and the Meaning of Colour from a Biologist’s Point of View”

         by Adolf Portmann.

    “Concepts of colour and Colour Symbolism in the Ancient World”

          by Christopher Rowe.

    “White, Red and Black: Colour Symbolism in Black Africa”

         by Dominique Zahan

    “Color in Christian Visionary Experience”

           by Ernst Benz

    “Color and the Expression of Interior Time in Western Art”

           by Rene Huyghe

    “The Elimination of Colour in Far Eastern Art and Philosophy”

           by Toshihiko Izutsu.

Each scholar provides copious notes and lists of their sources. The total lack of

illustrations is an obvious shortcoming in this wide-reaching book.  The dedicated

reader will find much of interest to pick and chose in the work of these

distinguished scholars.


  1. 499.Heifitz, Jeanne.  When Blue Meant Yellow. How Colors Got Their Names.

New York: Henry Holt, 1994. 173 pp. B/W illus., one color plate. ISBN

0-8050-3178-2.

    After a 12 page introduction on the nature of color the writer launches an

interesting dictionary of names for color, some with a brief entry, others with

longer essays for 353 colors names. She explains that some names are borrowed

from 40 Indo-European languages. The single color plate that concludes the text

shows 191 very small color chips that approximate some of the colors she has

discussed. Each of the 26 chapters begins with a longer essay about one of the

colors in that chapter, thus highlighting 26 colors in all. Each chapter begins with

a small black and white drawing of an object that has inspired a color name. The

“acknowledgement” section lists her sources. The many color stories offer

delightful and easy reading for interested adults as well as juveniles.

This modest book deserves more color plates.


500. Lamb, Trevor and Janine Bourriau, editors.

Colour Art & Science. Cambridge University Press, 1995.

237 pp. B/W illus. color illus. ISBN 0521-49963-1

    This book is based on the 1993 Darwin College Lectures at Cambridge

University. In their introduction the editors summarize the presentations and

basic questions poised by of each of the eight participants, all but three located at

Cambridge University. David Bomford, Senior Restorer of Paintings at The

National Gallery, London starts with Cennino Cennini’s famous treatise Il libro

dell’ Arte (1390) in his overview of painting methods and significant discoveries

in the history of color in art, down to Impressionism, all well illustrated. Artist

Bridget Riley, discusses pictorial color from her viewpoint, tracing the history of

the discoveries of the great colorists down to Seurat, Matisse, and Van Gogh.

Physicist Malcolm Longair describes “some the classic experiments of the last

400 years” that inform our understanding of light and color. Denis Baylor, a

visual physiologist at Stanford University, explains the “Colour Mechanisms of

the Eye.”  John Mollon, Reader in Experimental Psychology, discusses “Seeing

Colour.” Not surprisingly, Peter Parks, marine biologist and film-maker, presents

stunning photos of sea creatures and much more in his “Colour in Nature.”

John Gage, Head of the Department of History of Art at Cambridge, offers his

viewpoint in “Colour and Culture” to dedicated readers interested in perception

as he traces afterimage color pairs and color systems influenced by cultural

conditioning. Each scholar concludes with a list of books for further reading.

As promised in the title, this fine and challenging work spans the vast domain of

Colour Art and Science.



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